Swim-up is one of the most common methods for semen processing. Its principle is simple; it uses the ability of healthy sperm to swim towards an inviting environment, such as a hospitable medium. Less-motile, reduced-quality and dead sperms remain behind along the other components of the semen.
Sperm swim-up is performed by one of our andrology technologists in the laboratory following sperm collection for fertility treatment.
Initial stages of semen preparation include liquefaction (the ability of semen to turn from the gel-like state of the ejaculate into a liquid state), semen washing and centrifugation. Following, the sample is re-centrifuged softly and collected at the bottom of a conical tube. A hospitable and nutritious medium is added on top of the processed semen layer, and the tube is placed in an angled position inside an incubator that mimics the conditions and temperature of the human body for one hour.
The healthy sperms that are able to swim up migrate out of the semen into the medium. Debris, slow, immotile and dead sperms remain behind. At the end of the incubation, the technologist carefully retains the medium layer from the tube and finally prepares it for an ART. A swim-up sperm process takes about 1.5 hours.